Encouragement

When was the last time you celebrated you?

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It’s finally here, the time of year when we see if we have staying power or not.

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Twelve days of January have gone and those who set big resolutions are asking themselves, “What was I thinking?”

Those, like myself, who didn’t even think about resolutions, are breathing a sigh of relief and celebrating the season for what it really is, a time of reflecting and rejuvenating in order to approach 2016 with new vitality and focus. Now is the time to make the first two or three months of this new year really meaningful.

Here is one thing that should get you geared up for a successful 2016.

Honor yourself.

You made it through 2015. Things may not have gone exactly the way you planned, or maybe they did. Still you made it. Give yourself a pat on the back. This is the time of year to pause and celebrate the person you are today. Yes, there are still changes you want to make, but for now, celebrate and honor you.

For those of you who journal, take the time to memorialize what the past 12 month journey of 2015 was like. Write about the highs and the lows, the ups and the downs, the setbacks and steps forward. Embrace it all. Those experiences have allowed growing and excelling to take place.

What about your expectations, goals, and aspirations for 2016. Yes, now is the time to write them down and plan out what it will take to make 2016 the year of expansion and accelerated growth.

For those of you who blog, then share your story with us. Teach us how you did it; what you learned, and show us how we too can achieve great success through, dare I say it, hard work and determination.

Share your stores of how important it is to be kind and generous, thinking of others as much as yourself. Let us know where you came from and how far you have journeyed. Yes, it doesn’t hurt at all to remember your roots.

Finally, tell us who gave you love and support during this time of change or growth. Who were those influencers and supporters of all you accomplished? Hey, having an attitude of gratitude can propel you way faster than you ever dreamed.

Indulge yourself. You have a full year ahead of you. Take this time to focus and plan. You owe it to yourself.

“Let go of the past and go for the future. Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you imagined.” ~ Henry David Thoreau

Kick Fear Like An Olympian

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The 2014 Winter Olympics taking place in Sochi, Russia has certainly seen its fair share of winners and losers.  Athletes that were expected to be the golden stars have received no gold medals and those who were unlikely to be placed in the top 8 are the ones standing on the podium holding gold, silver, or bronze.  The Winter Olympics, just as the Summer Olympics, is exciting, colorful, and spectacular to watch.  It really doesn’t matter which country you favor, somehow you always end up rooting for the underdogs.

In the January/February edition of Women’s Health magazine there is a wonderful article by Jen Ator entitled, Find the Winner’s Edge.  Jen’s article looks at 4 Olympic athletes who are on the winning edge and reveals the “six mental traits that separate the average from the extraordinary.”  These six traits: perseverance, self-awareness, resilience, perspective, focus, and discipline, will definitely carry you to victory regardless of whether you are trying out for a spot on the winter Olympics or getting rid of unrealistic fear so that you can live a courageous, fearless life.

Olympic athletes really do put their bodies and minds through some grueling workouts.  No matter how hard it gets, how sore their bodies feel, or how daunting the goal may seem, they don’t give up.  They are going to get a place on the Olympic team.  They will represent their country.  They will be a winner.  This is the mindset it takes to accomplish their dreams.

“I refuse to be deterred by failure.  A little failure today is not a failure if it leads to success tomorrow.” ~ Lolo Jones, Bobsled

“You have to be smart enough to know when to push yourself and when not to.” Gretchen Bleiler, Snowboarding

“I had no idea how I’d do it, but I never doubted that I would.” Amy Purdy, Para-Snowboard Cross

“I don’t by any means wake up motivated every morning. I’m often relying on my commitment, not my motivation.” Emily cook, Freestyle Skiiing Aerials

A winning mindset does not happen overnight.  It takes those six traits mentioned above and a whole lot of courage to come out on top.  More often than not it feels like a very lonely journey.  The key to remember is that you are never alone. 

I hope you will take a little time to read Jen’s article.  You may not be training for the Olympics, but you are working at this thing called life.  Sometimes we need a dose of encouragement to help us Kick Fear Now.

Why not kick fear like an Olympian.  I dare you.

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photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/kk/4378452948/”>Kris Krug</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/”>cc</a&gt;

Stressed to the Max — No Way

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Well it’s that time of year again.  The end of the old year and the start of a new one.  Resolutions, goals, changes, risks, moves, plans, and the list goes on.  In other words, this is the time of the year that we look back at what we have done, how far we have come, and use what we see to look ahead and move forward. Yes, this is a good time.  There is a lot of excitement, much celebration and a great deal of chatter. 2013 has gone and 2014 is here.

How are your bucket lists going?  Thanks to Dana Sitar you should all be on your way to creating some great ones, especially those of you who are busy blogging, writing a book, or tweeting your hearts out.  Many of you have come real far in your journey of kicking unrealistic fear from your lives and I am really excited about that.  By writing down your goals, dreams, aspirations, or bucket lists, you have something to focus on when unrealistic fear tries to stop you from doing all those things you know that you can do.

I extremely excited for my friend the Fly Away American.  If you haven’t stopped by her blog please do.  Now that’s a lady who has kicked fear, moved to more than one new country, and is having fun sharing her journey with us.  Go Jessica!  I can’t wait to hear about your journeys in 2014.

Mustard Seed Budget continues to keep me grounded as does my friend over at the Better Man Projects.  Courage begins from within and whether it is starting a new ministry, business, or project, doing it with little or nothing is not always easy.  The key is to continue on and believe in yourself.  With patience, determination, and some staying power you will succeed.

As for those stumbling blocks that come to distract us from our journey, they have to be dealt with.  The past few months have been rough for me.  I was stressed to the max, overloaded, and bursting at the seams.  I am the first to admit I was tempted to throw in the towel, but that thought did not stick around for long.  I stopped, rested, and reassessed.  The stumbling block is now a small hurdle that I will get over.

So, I am in for the penny and in for the pound.  A new year is ahead and I am ready to take whatever 2014 brings.  What about you?  Are you ready for 2014?  I hope you will stick around as together, we KICK FEAR TO THE CURB, NOW!

Kick Fear Book

In the Face of Adversity are Windows of Opportunity

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“There is a window that is now open to you. All the gloom, despair, sadness, and other things that are negative will not be available in this window because you made the choice not to let them in.” ~ Sheila Lee

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I met Sheila Lee at the National Black Book Festival that I attended in Houston, Texas during November.  It was her voice that caught my attention as I listened to her speaking to another author alongside of me.  It was so soothing and calm.  As she spoke, I felt this was a woman at peace with herself and not only that, but she must bring joy to those people who often hear her voice.  It was not until the following day, when I attend her workshop, that I heard her story and realized that Sheila’s peace had come with a great price.

Sheila Lee was 34 years old when her husband of 11 years committed suicide.  She was devastated.  The man who she had planned to spend the rest of her life with had left her alone with a 10 year old child to raise by herself.  Despite the fact that this man, that she had loved so much, had abused her mentally and physically throughout their entire marriage, she was grief-stricken.

It would take time, but eventually Sheila would realize she had been released from a relationship that could easily have seen her being the one ending up dead.  She laughs about it now, but she told us that many times she proudly professed that she would “die for him.”  That’s how much she loved him.

Sheila has penned the book, Window Hood Not Widow Hood.  She wrote the book to give encouragement and hope to others who may have experienced a devastating loss such as hers.  She realized that there are windows of opportunity to be found in the face of adversity, you just have to get past the hurt to see them.

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Sheila kicked fear to the curb in her own way.  With perseverance, determination, and patience, she took one action step after another. It was hard work.  Nevertheless, with time and the positive attitude that she possesses, she felt it was important to share her story.  I for one am glad she has.

Today, along with the message in her books, Sheila gives comfort and solace to those who listen to her radio program “Morning Joy.”  If you want to can catch Sheila’s soothingly, pleasant voice just listen to WRVS 89.9 FM, Monday through Friday from 6 a.m. – 9 a.m.  It is a great way to begin your day.

Sheila is currently running the Morning Joy Book Nook Marathon. From December 2 through December 13 she will be interviewing more than 30 authors to discuss their books and the reason why they wrote them as well as give some words of encouragement to the listeners.   On Thursday, December 12, 2013, 8:30 a.m. – 8:45 a.m., EST, I will have the pleasure of being interviewed by Sheila.  The highlight of the Book Nook Marathon is the free gift pack of books from the many authors.  There will be 12 winners of a drawing being held during the same dates.   What a great Christmas gift.

Sheila will be streaming and the interviews can be heard at www.ecsu.edu/wrvs or tunein.com on a lap top, desk top or tablet. Try to listen in and let me know if you were a winner.

Fear in Sheep’s Clothing

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When you are on a mission to eliminate fear from controlling your life, you will soon realize that unrealistic fear has no problem putting on sheep’s clothing if doing so will help it accomplish its goal.

Many times it will use the person closest to you to paralyze you. It could be your spouse, knocking down your idea about going back to college to earn a degree. It could be a sibling, reminding you of all the things you tried and failed at when you were young. It could even be your so-called best friend, who tells you how much they love you until you decide to do something different and extraordinary. Unfortunately, it’s often those people who think they know you, and what’s best for you, that push the fear button the hardest.

Jonathan Johnson, author of A Fighting Chance, is our guest blogger today and he has some words of encouragement for us on this issue. 

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God doesn’t make trash…..He hears your cry!!!!

This blog post is for those people who lost hope…..

This blog post is for those people that were told they wouldn’t amount to anything….

This blog post is for the CHAMPION in all of us….

Living life isn’t always the easiest task. Sometimes life can beat us down to the point that we don’t want to get back up. A lot of times we pray, and we feel that God doesn’t answer our prayers in a timely manner. The one thing that we have to understand is that our time isn’t God’s time, He moves when he’s good and ready. In this life, we ALL have some type of dream or goal that we want to achieve. Through the process of reaching our dreams, we encounter people who will do anything to stop us from getting to that point. And a lot of times, the people that we embark on are those closest to us…crazy huh? But it happens. A lot of times it’s those that are closest to us that don’t have a clue of what God is trying to do in our lives.

The good news is the storms that we endure are simply a test. Sure a lot of times we don’t see the light at the end of the tunnel. That light is indeed there, we just have to keep pushing towards it. You must understand that God is GREATER than any PREDICAMENT that we are faced with. There are times when people tell us that our dreams are stupid, childish, or even phony. That’s fine, let those other people talk…after all, God has the final say so, and the beauty of it is that God gives us control of our own destinies…it’s just on us to walk into what’s ours. So, instead of complaining…start claiming.

At the end of the day, we are all champions; we just have different roads to our titles. Never forget that God is a bridge builder, so when you’re walking in your darkest hour, trust that God won’t leave you hanging. Granted we might sin daily, which is why Jesus went to the cross for us. So, when others come against you and your dreams don’t fret…just keep pushing. Those people are just misguided…

“When the world brings you down to your knees…you’re in the PREFECT position to pray”

Kick Fear to the Curb – The Book

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September and the first part of October has found me at that anticlimactic stage where I have finished a project, but the overwhelming feeling of joy and satisfaction at having completed something significant, to me at least, just hasn’t arrived. The years of research and writing, proofing and editing, honing and fine-tuning has ended.  I don’t know how many hands it has gone through, nor the amount of eyes that have reviewed and scrutinized, constructively criticized and painstakingly commented.  It just feels like a lot.  I’ve cut and omitted, put down and picked up, wrote and re-wrote, taken out and put back in.  Finally, with much coaxing and persuading, I realized it was time to let my baby go.

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Writing my first book, Kick Fear to the Curb: 5 Action Steps for a Courageous You, was no easy task.  Nevertheless, it was a goal I set and I was not going to stop until I had accomplished it.  It was a labor of love from me to my audience.  It was a topic that needed to be addressed because too many of us have allowed unrealistic fear to stop us from living life — a full, rich, successful life.

In a world that is filled with so much fear, doubt, and uncertainty about the future, it is easy to become discouraged.  Yet, we need courage to live this life.  Furthermore, that courage has to be built up and constantly maintained.  This is why I wrote the book, to encourage you to take action, even if only small steps.  Fear should not be hovering over your life, holding you back from stepping into your desired future.  It’s time to put unrealistic fear right where it belongs, under your feet.

During the time of writing the book that will get you to Kick Fear Now, I learned a new language, traveled to exotic places, met new people, developed friendships, climbed several mountains, earned a Masters degree in Emergency Management and more than anything else, learned how to harness the power I have within me to keep unrealistic fear where it rightly belongs.  In other words, I found courage to be me.

Now, my mission is to get this book into your hands so that you can find the courage to be you, the vibrant, fearless, courageous you. If I can encourage you to stop being discouraged and allow your courage to propel you into the unknown then my mission will be accomplished.

I want you to Kick Fear and I will help you to do it – NOW.